What is the expected story of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?

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Here's what we can piece together about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom's story with the details revealed so far (Images via Nintendo)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has fans excited for the upcoming open-world title. The latest entry in the long-running action-adventure series from Nintendo will be lore-heavy once again. This was all but confirmed with the latest pre-launch trailer for the game. Fans got a debut look at the many returning characters and exciting new set-pieces that mark their presence in the latest adventure across Hyrule.

The exact story behind The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is still a mystery. Nevertheless, fans have been developing theories and possibilities based on known details. While we are bound to receive concrete details as the launch date draws closer, let us speculate on what's possible.


All we know about the story of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom so far

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The latest launch trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom says almost everything fans need to know about the game's narrative. It takes place after the events of 2017's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To recap, the threat known as Calamity Ganon was quelled by the protagonist, Link, with the help of Princess Zelda. With the post-apocalyptic land of Hyrule finally settling into a brief moment of peace, the remaining survivors have begun to rebuild what was lost.

Returning characters like Riju and Tulin have also grown since their appearance in the last game, indicating that at least a few years may have passed since then. However, chaos has struck once again with Ganondorf being revived - which was first noted in the debut teaser trailer for this sequel back in 2019.

The destroyed Hyrule Castle at the heart of the map also seems to be back in its glory - but under the new evil threat that has arisen. This time, players will face Ganondorf, the human Gerudo form of Ganon, and the incarnation of the demon Demise.

Much has changed across the land in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. New structures called Sky Islands have made their home high above Hyrule. These floating isles are where Link will seemingly begin his adventure and acquire brand-new abilities across a plethora of puzzles and dungeons. Ganondorf's resurrection has also drastically altered the surface below, where The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took place.

New towns have sprung across previously abandoned locales, along with newly sprouted chasms and caves that await exploration. To make matters worse, Zelda seems to have been separated from Link by falling underground during this shift. This makes sense considering she can be seen wishing for Link to find her at the end of the latest trailer. She can also be seen talking to a masked individual, who is likely a member of the Zonai tribe.

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This mysterious civilization was nearly wiped out of existence in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild but has now returned. This is evident not just with the tribe's insignia that can be seen across Link's weapons and gear, but also due to the existence of the new Construct enemy type. This also means that much of the Sheikah technology that emerged in the last game has disappeared - perhaps except for a few remnants, such as the Sheikah Slate, which is now under Zelda's possession.

But really, the stars of the show are the titular Tears. Their inclusion in the game's title should be indicative of their importance. In short, they are physical items of power. So far, they are shown to be possessed by important cast members like Link, Zelda, Sidon, Riju, Tulis, and yes, even Ganondorf. While it remains unclear what they will do, Link may have to collect them all.

We also get a look at a new NPC who is a Zonai member Zelda can be seen conversing with. Additionally, we see someone similar to Zelda, with the same attire and look but a darker complexion. While fan speculation has pegged her to be Zelda channeling the spirit of the goddess Hylia, she seems to be an unrelated Zonai character.

It also seems that the time-travel aspects are at play. This could also explain the appearance of the lost Zonai, who Zelda meets up with. This also explains why she is wearing similar attire to the Zonai, meaning she has time-traveled to the past after falling underground. Could this be due to the Tear she possesses having time-travel abilities? Keen-eyed fans have spotted that the symbol on her Tear is the same as the one on the Recall ability usable by Link - which retraces the trajectory of an object, thus rewinding it.

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This starts to make more sense when fans realize that the current state of the Master Sword has been corrupted, with half its blade missing. This is possibly due to the same corruption that damaged Link's right arm, which is why he has a modified one now. However, one of the scenes shows the current Zelda holding the Master Sword as well. It cannot be in two places at once now, can it? Speculation aside, we should see more official details in the coming weeks.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is scheduled for release on Nintendo Switch on May 12, 2023.